North Point wins battle of unbeatens in the pool
North Point swimmers remain perfect after sweep of Patriots
Something had to give and something did as the North Point boys and girls swim teams both emerged victorious fol- lowing a battle of the unbeatens against Northern on Friday at the Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center in Prince Frederick.
The North Point girls (7-0 SMAC) earned a first- and third-place fin- ish in the final event of the night — the 400-yard freestyle relay — to slip past Northern, 140-136.
In the boys race, the Ea- gles (7-0) won nine of 11 events and earned a 148-130 victory over the Patriots.
“It’s always a great feeling to get good wins against a great team,” North Point head coach Jeff Rivenburg said. “Really it was just grit and heart. You can’t coach heart. You’ve got it or you don’t and my girls and guys showed today they have heart. And Northern’s got that heart, too. Their girls and guys have some fantastic swimmers and they were swimming lights out; they really came to swim. I real- ly think the difference when you came right down to it that my girls and guys leaned on each other.”
In the girls meet, North Point held a 127-121 lead heading into the final event of the night and needed a win and a third-place finish to seal the victory. Teams earn 10 points for a win, five points for second-place and three points for a third-place finish.
The Eagles got exactly that as Carla Arquero, Kerrigan McMillen, Mya Rivenburg and Nathalie LaFontant won the race in 3 minutes 57.01 seconds. Meanwhile, its B team of Carsen Essing, Hannah McMillen, Jaelyn Sapp and Sydney Marohn-Johnson placed third in 4:16.26.
“If we do anything less, we lose,” Jeff Rivenburg said.
North Point won just 5 of 11 events but added 11 second- and third-place finishes, compared to just five such placements by the Patriots.
“I told the girls every place gets at least a point,” Jeff Rivenburg said. “First to sixth, we needed every place. We can’t have DQs
or false starts or any of that or we don’t pull a win out. And they came to swim.”
North Point swept all three relays and LaFontant (50 free 25.69 seconds) and Arquero (100 free 59.09) each added an individual win and a second-place finish. Kerrigan McMillen was runner-up in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly.
“It was good. It was a really tough race, but I tried my best to do as well as possible,” McMillen said of the 200 IM, in which she dropped three seconds off her personal record. “I knew I wasn’t going to get first, but I thought that finishing second was reasonable. I wanted to stay with the leader as much as I could and do the best I could at the end.”
Essing was second in the 100 free and third in the 50 free. Eight Eagles had at least a third-place finish.
Jeff Rivenburg said the contribution by Ma- rohn-Johnson, who placed fourth in the 200 IM with a PR of 2:35.41 and also swam leadoff on the fourth-place 200 medley relay team.
“I put her in the IM and it’s not one of her typical events, but we had some girls out and I really needed a good time out of her,” he said. “Without her we don’t win this meet. And you can say that about a lot of girls.”
The Patriots (7-1) were led by dual winners Laurel Gallaudet (200 free 2:03.65; 500 free 5:28.01), Kelly Moton (100 breast- stroke 1:09.88 (a school record); 200 IM 2:18.85) and Jenna Mehls (100 fly 1:06.61; 100 backstroke 1:07.09).
Victoria Plaudis (200 free), Callie Heim (50 free) and Nyah Hartwell (500 free) each added a second-place finish and Haylee Plaudis placed third in the 100 fly and 200 IM.
“It was really fantastic,” Hartwell said of the 500, in which she PR’d by almost four seconds in 5:52.76. “The girl next to me [Mya Rivenburg] was going out too fast so I pulled up a bit, and the second half of the race I put everything I had into it.”
“I really think it was the competition she had up against her and know- ing her teammates were cheering her on,” Northern head coach Carrie Bradley said. “And she was side by side with an- other swimmer and that provided an extra oomph.”
Eagles take Patriots in boys event
In the boys meet, North Point (7-0) won nine of 11 events and went on to remain undefeated and in the process, knocked Northern from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Manny Agravante (200 free 2:02.86; 500 free 5:41.49) and Lawrence Sapp (100 free 51.04; 200 IM 2:09.67) each won two events for North Point, while Tyler Whitsett took the 100 fly (58.36) and Anh-Khoa Nguyen won the 100 breast (1:08.81).
“I was rusty, but I was able to pull it out,” Agra- vante said of his 1.01-sec- ond margin of victory in the 500. “Honestly I thought we were both going to die out in the end but I was able to pull through and do it for the team.”
“He had a fantastic meet and pulled up two wins,” Rivenburg said of Agra- vante. “And Lawrence I put him in some tough events and against some tough swimmers and and he pulled out two wins and was clutch in our relays.”
Kevin Rohrbaugh was second in the 50 free by two one-hundredths of a second (24.74) and added a third-place finish in the 100 free (56.35). The Ea- gles also swept all three relays.
The Patriots (7-1) received wins from James Harmon in the 50 free (24.72) and Nolan Dennes in the 100 back (59.78).
“He swam hard and it’s first year on team,” Bradley said of Harmon, a sophomore transfer. “He’s melded well with our swim team and become a part of it.”
Jamie Lawless (200 free 2:04.18; 500 free 5:42.48) and John Bubser (100 fly, 1:01.22; 200 IM 2:16.47) each placed second in two events. Dennes also added a runner-up finish in the 100 free.
“Our main swimmer who was supposed to be swimming [the 200] with me was sick so I thought to myself, ‘I have to be the one,’” Lawless said of the event, during which he dropped almost 10 sec- onds. “It’s not ver y stress- ful because I know I can do it. It’s just exhausting, but I just tried to swim as hard as I can. [In the 500,] the person next to me was with me the whole time and I saw him on every foot turn and it kind of pushed me to go faster. And I sprinted at the end to stay ahead of him.”
Rivenburg said he was worried about his team’s performance after a 15day layoff. The Eagles’ last SMAC meet prior to Friday’s event was a sweep over La Plata on Dec. 21.
“I definitely worried about that because we just got back in the pool Tuesday,” he said. North Point is scheduled to swim against Huntingtown and host Lackey at 5 p.m. today. “My team basically swam alone or with their club teams so I was worried about it a little bit. We’ve got room for improvement; it wasn’t our best meet of the season but we swam really well and we’re leaving with two wins. I can’t speak highly enough about Northern’s team. They swam lights out and they nipped us in some [races] and our confidence took a little bit of a shot but we rebounded.”
“Actually I’m really proud at what my swimmers were able to do,” Bradley said, assessing her team’s performance. “They’ve got their sprits up really high and they’re very confident in themselves. We came in and I think if we had everyone healthy and fit that we could have done better. We’re going to get back in the water and we’re really excited to have a full week of practice before our next meet [a dual meet at 5 p.m. Friday against McDonough at North Point].”
North Point’s Sydney Marohn-Johnson slices through the water on her way to a fourth-place finish in the 200-yard Individual Medley during Friday’s meet with Northern at Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center in Prince Frederick. Marohn-Johnson and the Eagles edged the Patriots 140-136 to remain undefeated.
North Point’s Dariusz Mackenzie was third in the 200 IM during Friday’s meet with Northern at Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center in Prince Frederick. The Eagles edged Northern to remain unbeaten. STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL REID